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Tyron Smith Injury Puts La’el Collins Back at RT, Terence Steele Moves to LT

Continuity on the offensive line was the reason Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy gave as to why La’el Collins didn’t reclaim his starting job at right tackle against the Vikings. Collins spent the week getting reps at both tackle and guard before playing in Kellen Moore’s wishbone set as a fullback to mark his return from suspension. Terence Steele started at RT like he has in each game this season, and held up well in protection of Cooper Rush. Steele will remain in the starting lineup when Dak Prescott returns against the Broncos this Sunday, though at left tackle to fill in for Tyron Smith.

Clarence Hill Jr on Twitter: “Cowboys QB Dak Prescott said Terence Steele is playing left tackle and Lael Collins is playing right tackle on Sunday #DallasCowboys / Twitter”

Cowboys QB Dak Prescott said Terence Steele is playing left tackle and Lael Collins is playing right tackle on Sunday #DallasCowboys

Smith’s injury in Minnesota opened the door for Collins to play RT again, enough of a blow to put aside any additional motives behind his delayed return to the lineup. Ty Nsekhe came in for Smith at the Vikings, but it’s Steele that’s reliably protected Prescott all season – earning his playing time as the Cowboys play their best five linemen against the Broncos.

Steele along with Brandon Knight were bright spots for the Cowboys a year ago, as Moore kept the offense together without either starting tackle or Prescott. Now, the Cowboys have one of the best offenses in the league with Steele being the hangover from an otherwise forgetful 2020 campaign. A valuable swing tackle that can fill in for either Collins or Smith has been a need on the Cowboys roster, as was a backup QB capable of stepping in to win a game.

The do-no-wrong 6-1 Cowboys have both of these things right now. Smith’s injury being about pain management, the Cowboys will be faced with a decision on just how long Steele can be in the starting lineup when he’s ready to play again. Dallas will be looking for Collins to take full grasp of the right tackle spot before inserting Smith back in the lineup, pairing the tackles together for the first time since week one when the time comes.

Of course, Steele may be the first to remind anyone that will listen that week one remains the lone Cowboys loss on this season.

Offensive line coach Joe  Philbin has earned praise for making the right decisions since joining McCarthy’s staff. That season opener in Tampa Bay was the only game he’s coached in two years with both Collins and Smith starting at tackle.

Jon Machota on Twitter: “Cowboys LT Tyron Smith (ankle) is not expected to play Sunday against Denver, but Mike McCarthy said: “I’m not looking at this as a long term injury at all.” / Twitter”

Cowboys LT Tyron Smith (ankle) is not expected to play Sunday against Denver, but Mike McCarthy said: “I’m not looking at this as a long term injury at all.”

The decision to keep this continuity will be an easy one, even if this week’s preview of what La’el Colilns looks like at RT again is due to injury. As a team, the Cowboys have a lot to look forward to with impact players returning from injury over the coming weeks. It shouldn’t be long until Smith can quickly be added to this list.

Tell us what you think about “Tyron Smith Injury Puts La’el Collins Back at RT, Terence Steele Moves to LT” in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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Written by Sean Martin

Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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  1. I’ve been screaming for a long time for us to get someone in line to be able to replace TS when he can’t play anymore but I guess Jerry and Coach M are not paying attention to my post or they have quit reading these articles that you guys take your time to write! Anyway this will be a good test for Steele who has been improving in my opinion quite a bit! Just hope he don’t get Dak hurt while he learns on the job!

  2. Steele showed promise as a rookie last year. As for Knight being a bright spot? Not hardly. Even the staff admitted they were disappointed. Bottom line, when Smith is healthy Steele should should remain in the starting lineup.

  3. TS did play some LT at Texas Tech, so he has at least some experience there. He is definitely better than TN, so this appears to be a good move. We should be able the beat Denver in any case. Agree with CF Ed, time to draft a stud, IF TS is not the long term answer at LT and Smith continues getting hurt, and is unreliable.

  4. I agree with the sentiment with getting another LT, not sure if I’d pay a premium pick for one, but I’d definitely look at the possibility,

    I believe we won’t skip a beat with Steele at LT, he’s proving to be just as good any of our O-Lineman, you know Defenses are especially gonna test Steele rather than try and send their best players at Smith or Martin, so it’s not like he hasn’t gotten to go against elite Pass rushers

    Only question have is that does Collins still got it ?
    I’m just curious even with the spectacular by Steele, why the Boys would start him over Collins who before his injury, he was a all pro RT for us

    We should be fine i believe nonetheless vs. this Broncos D

  5. Hopefully Steele is up to the task. LT is a different animal. If he can be above average to good there, then we got an important fill in for Tron and a good swing tackle. I think he benefited by playing RT next to Zack. Playing next to CW who has struggled, may not be as rosy.

  6. Wondering when Tyron will hang it up. He has been a rock on the left side for years and will be a future hall of famer, but for the last few years it has been ver disruptive to have him in and out of the line up due to nagging injuries. The Cowboys need a succession plan probably as early as the upcoming draft. It will be interesting to see if Steele can make a go of it this weekend. He has been a pleasant surprise at right tackle this year after taking some lumps as a rookie. Would love to see our line fully healthy, but bone spurs don’t just go away.

  7. Good point Gary B, really, as long as Tyron on the left side is there and Martin is on the right, it makes just about everyone else alot better than what they actually are,

    i do imagine though as i said that if you’re a coach or a pass rusher, you gonna want to test the others of Steele, Biadasz, and CW rather than go after TS or Martin but at the same time they do get help from those guys still

    Guarantee you that Chubb will be lining up over on the left vs. Steele a lot if not the entire time, and i guess that will prove how good Steele is or how much help he gets from Martin when he’s over on the right side

  8. I have to say that the week 1 loss to the buccaneers wasn’t Collins fault, he played a good game that week, and if it wasn’t for some blown calls from the refs we would have won that game!! And the refs admitted to not calling one that they should have, and another one that they missed came on the last possession of the buccaneers when they scored the last second field goal to win the game…. Chris Godwin straight up pushed Anthony Brown to the ground right before he caught the ball, so that should’ve been offensive pass interference, but the refs didn’t call it and and a few throw aways later the buccaneers win the game by kicking a field goal!! So Steele has no excuse to play over Collins at RT!! That’s the only part of this article I didn’t agree with!! Even though Steele has been playing good, I can’t agree with him playing over Collins…. Collins is definitely the better player!!

    And Jeff Tuggle…. Steele didn’t show anything in his rookie year last year except that he can blow a game for us with all of his penalties and blown assignments!! Last season Brandon Knight was definitely the better player all year long!! It was during training camp this season when Steele turned things around and Knight started messing up!! And like I said above, Collins is definitely the better player, so when Smith does come back, it would be stupid to play Steele over Collins, and now that Collins is back at his spot the coaches can’t use continuity as an excuse!!

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